People should plan for a “great British summer”, the health secretary has said, suggesting that holidays abroad may not be a given as he revealed he has booked his own break in Cornwall.
Matt Hancock’s comments come after the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, suggested it was “too early” for Britons to book summer breaks overseas.
Asked if people should book a trip abroad, Hancock said: “I’m going to Cornwall. And I have said before I think we’re going to have a great British summer. But we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then.
“What we can do is see the line of sight to vaccinating everybody by September and anything before that would be a bonus. As the foreign secretary said yesterday, we’re driving this as fast as we possibly can.”
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Hancock said admissions to hospital on Monday were the highest they had been throughout the pandemic, with one Covid patient currently admitted to hospital in the UK every 30 seconds.
The latest government statistics show there are 37,475 people in UK hospitals and Hancock said the NHS “is under significant pressure in all parts of the country”.
He said it was more vital than ever that people continued to stay at home and respect the restrictions. “Don’t blow it now, we’re on the route out with protecting the most vulnerable,” he said.
“We’re getting the virus under control. Together, I know that we can do it. And we’ve got to stick at it, and especially with our plans for all adults in the UK to be offered a Covid vaccine by September.”
The health secretary also did not rule out changing the law to protect medics from charges of “unlawful killing” should the NHS be forced into situations where doctors had to choose which patients to save.
“I know that this is a very serious concern,” Hancock said. “I’m very glad to say that we are not in a position where doctors have to make those sorts of choices. And I very much hope that we don’t get in that situation and that everybody can get the treatment they deserve.”
He said he had been given clear advice that it was “not necessary at this point to change the law on this on this matter” but it would be kept under review. “I take very serious questions of this nature,” he said.
“That is not the situation now, and the data show that we are getting this under control. But that requires you to act by staying at home, unless you have one of the reasons set out very clearly as to why you can leave whether it’s for exercise, or if you can’t work from home.”
Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?